Hospital Units Across England May Close Due to Some NHS Personnel's Reluctance to Be Vaccinated

© AP Photo / Frank AugsteinA sign marks the entrance of a vaccination centre at St Thomas' Hospital in London, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021
A sign marks the entrance of a vaccination centre at St Thomas' Hospital in London, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
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Last month, British Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that COVID-19 vaccinations would be compulsory for frontline National Health Service (NHS) staff and social care workers in England as of 1 April 2022.
Chris Hopson, chief executive officer (CEO) of the UK's National Health Service (NHS) Providers, has warned that entire hospital units in England may close due to their staff quitting in a show of protest against the government's order for obligatory vaccination of NHS personnel.
Hopson referred to a hospital trust in England, where he said 40 midwives were refusing to be vaccinated, raising concerns that the maternity unit will have to close.

"Trust leaders are acutely aware that, from April onwards, when COVID vaccinations will become mandatory, decisions by staff to remain unvaccinated could – in extreme circumstances – lead to patient services being put at risk", the NHS Providers CEO said.

Even though Hopson did not name the trust, he cautioned that its maternity unit is "one representative example" of potential closures of hospital units across the country.
Referring to the 40 midwives, he said that "those staff, given their skills and their expertise, are not easily redeployed but they're also extremely difficult to replace".
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Hopson called on Health Secretary Sajid Javid and NHS England to "be clear well in advance how we will resolve the hopefully small number of instances where service viability and safety could be at risk" due to frontline personnel quitting rather than getting vaccinated.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has not yet responded directly to Hopson's comments, with a spokesperson saying that they are "grateful to all our NHS staff who work incredibly hard".

"Vaccinations remain our best defence against COVID-19. This is about patient safety and it's our duty to ensure that they are as safe as can be. Working with organisations in the health and care sector, we will continue to support those who have not yet received the vaccination to take up the offer to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their patients", the spokesperson stressed.

The statement follows Health Secretary Javid telling lawmakers last week that "despite the incredible effort to boost uptake across the country, there are still approximately 94,000 NHS staff who are [still] unvaccinated". The health secretary underscored that "it's critical to patient safety that health and care staff get the jab".
© REUTERS / PETER NICHOLLSBritain's Health Secretary Sajid Javid walks on Downing Street in London, Britain, July 14, 2021
Britain's Health Secretary Sajid Javid walks on Downing Street in London, Britain, July 14, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
Britain's Health Secretary Sajid Javid walks on Downing Street in London, Britain, July 14, 2021
This followed Javid announcing compulsory COVID vaccinations for frontline NHS staff and social care workers from 1 April 2022.

"We must avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS, and of course protect the NHS itself", he said at the time.

Hopson, for his part, argued that there would be concern that chronic NHS understaffing problems could be further exacerbated as a result of compulsory vaccinations, adding, "we simply cannot afford to lose thousands of NHS staff overnight".
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